OpenAI has a third CEO in three days: Emmett Shear. After a shock firing of former CEO Sam Altman on Friday, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear is officially taking over as interim CEO of OpenAI. The Information first revealed Shear’s appointment on Sunday night. The official announcement comes just an hour after Microsoft confirmed it had hired Sam Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to form a new advanced AI research team.
“Today I got a call inviting me to consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to become the interim CEO of OpenAI,” says Shear in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “After consulting with my family and reflecting on it for just a few hours, I accepted.”
Shear resigned as Twitch CEO earlier this year after co-founding the Justin.tv platform that eventually became Twitch. He’s taking over the position of OpenAI interim CEO at a turbulent time for the company. Chief technology officer Mira Murati briefly became the interim CEO of OpenAI on Friday, following the shock firing of Altman. Many OpenAI employees showed a public display of support for Altman amid negotiations with the OpenAI board to potentially bring him back.
Now, Shear takes over OpenAI in a huge shake-up nearly a year after the launch of ChatGPT. “I took this job because I believe that OpenAI is one of the most important companies currently in existence,” says Shear. “When the board shared the situation and asked me to take the role, I did not make the decision lightly. Ultimately I felt that I had a duty to help if I could.”
Much like Microsoft reiterating that the partnership with OpenAI is still alive, Shear had a similar message to share. “Our partnership with Microsoft remains strong, and my priority in the coming weeks will be to make sure we continue to serve all our customers well,” says Shear. “OpenAI employees are extremely impressive, as you might have guessed, and mission-driven in the extreme. And it’s clear that the process and communications around Sam’s removal has been handled very badly, which has seriously damaged our trust.”
The turmoil at OpenAI won’t be easy to heal, particularly as both Altman and Brockman have joined Microsoft — a key investor that’s rumored to own 49 percent of OpenAI. Shear now plans to hire an independent investigator to generate a report on the process leading up to Altman’s firing. He’s also planning to reform OpenAI’s management and leadership teams over the next 30 days, amid potential resignations from unhappy OpenAI executives and employees.
“OpenAI’s stability and success are too important to allow turmoil to disrupt them like this,” says Shear. “I will endeavor to address the key concerns as well, although in many cases I believe it may take longer than a month to achieve true progress.”